Friday, 24 December 2010

Which side are you on ?

Everyone else in the lefty-blog world has an opinion. And although I have no inside information, and probably no original insight, - here's my view on Tommy-gate:  

It's not quite the same as my party - I don't see the need to juxtaposition the caricature of Tommy-the blameless and persecuted  hero to that of Tommy-the evil megalomaniac who destroyed the Scottish Left.  But it's certainly not that either of the Anti-Tommy alliance  from Anarchists to Tories who are rubbing their hands in delight at his downfall.

I don't know - or care that much - if Tommy was technically guilty of the charges against him. But although - as the official party line says he is  'innocent of crimes against the working class' - he is as far as I can see guilty of hubris, weakness and lack of judgement. It seems contradictory that a man strong enough to go to prison for his beliefs should also succumb to the social  pressures of convention in denying his sexual tastes. Tastes that if revealed would undermine a carefully constructed public image of a family man and regular guy. But then again (like myself) he was raised as a Catholic before he became a Marxist.

But contradictions are at the heart of the whole sad Tommy-gate tale - most fundamentally the contradiction that he could be the most charismatic left leader of a generation, the man who perhaps  made the single biggest contribution to a renaissance of a movement, and at the same time the man whose actions did the most to pull it apart.

And the biggest and most shocking contradiction of them all is that people who once called themselves Marxists - who understood that the State is an instrument of the ruling class - should think that a court case could deliver some sort of objective 'justice'  or 'truth' abstracted from its political context - and even worse were willing to collaborate in what can only be described as a conspiracy with those who were openly the enemies of the working class movement.

So, however much I may wish that back in 2004 when confronted with the evidence Tommy had taken a 'published and be damned - I'm kinky deal with it' line  - it is not possible to now  take a neutral stance and hand-wringingly reflect on the sadness of the whole affair. And for that reason alone I'm siding not so much with Tommy -  as against the state, the Murdoch press, embittered former comrades, and the Tories.


Paul said...

Spot on :) First time I came across Tommy Sheridan was the huge anti poll tax demonstration in glasgow in the mid 80's. He was brilliant. Inspiring. Eloquant and passionate. Watching a genuinely left wing party gain political ground in Scotland in the years afterwards was a real cause for hope too. Tommy on national telly as just about the only politician in the land with a revolutionary rather than reformist message.

I suppose the wave had to break at some point, but this is just so bloody stupid and cheap and tawdry.

Anonymous said...

You some up my feelings exactly